Weepu reveals all in biography book
CHIEF RUGBY WRITER
Piri Weepu doesn’t exactly offer revelations, but his biography is an enjoyable, humorous and informative account of his life and career to date.
It's no surprise, but it turns out the cheeky Wellington halfback has been wearing his heart on his sleeve, challenging authority, and doing things his own way all his life.
Certainly emotion played a big part in his decision to leave the Hurricanes last year and many readers will flick straight to chapter 12.
There was never going to be any mud-slinging in this book considering Weepu is still playing, but he manages to be honest all the same.
He reveals he got a bad vibe from new coach Mark Hammett right from the start, but was still "stunned" when his manager Bruce Sharrock told him he thought his place at the franchise was "under review".
Weepu said he could barely believe how he suddenly felt "like an outsider" in a team he'd played for eight years.
He actually signed, but never returned the Hurricanes first offer, then rebuffed a more attractive one aimed at countering interest from the Blues.
But the treatment of Ma'a Nonu and Andrew Hore played a part with Weepu describing it as "rat shit".
It was his close friend Nonu's departure and the ending of his relationship with his partner Candice, that ultimately tipped the balance.
Like many incidents in the book, Weepu takes some of the blame on his own shoulders and says "moaning" in front of his teammates probably didn't sit well with management.
He doesn't bag Hammett's coaching, but says he felt like the former Cantabrian tried to change things too fast.
The book begins with a fly on the wall account of the All Blacks World Cup win, but covers all the key moments and milestones.
That includes his dumping from the All Blacks before the 2007 Rugby World Cup after a night out in Auckland, and his subsequent, but short lived anger at trusted backs coach Wayne Smith.
"It was tough to swallow at the time, pretty stink in fact. From that meeting I went up to my room and packed my bags as per instructions. I was out of that hotel so fast it was amazing... most of my teammates didn't even know I was gone," Weepu writes.
He says he has never seen the note slipped under coach Graham Henry's door by a member of the public after he arrived at the team hotel at 4am.
Weepu's ability to forgive and move on is a likable quality as is his obvious affection for his family and in particular older brother Billy who has shared in many of the best moments in his career.
There is, of course, plenty about his much talked about diet and it's done with plenty of humour and humility.
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to food," he writes before detailing his love of sea food and KFC.
One of the most entertaining chapters is School Daze, an account of his time at the Maori boarding school Te Aute College where he was stripped of his head boy status after failing to attend communion.
For all his trials and tribulations, Weepu says he has never truly considered switching codes to rugby league and his passion for all things All Black comes through strongly.
Perhaps the line that sums up Weepu best comes during his account of his first media interview, one where he revealed he'd always dreamed of playing for the Kiwis.
"Why couldn't I just be me, and why wouldn't people just accept me for who I am and how I am? I didn't get it then and I still don't"
Piri: Straight Up
Cups, downs & keeping calm
With Heather Kidd
- © Fairfax NZ News
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